I’m reading the second to last chapter in the Bible this morning. The end of the story, the beginning of eternity. And what strikes me is the number of times John, in his prophetic heavenly vision, refers to “the Lamb.” Five times Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, is seen as the Lamb in this chapter.
And you’d think at this point, the Lamb motif could be done. That the divine persona reminding us of Jesus dying on a cross could be retired. After all, the sacrifice was once for all, the work finished, the Son resurrected in power and glory, His glorious appearing a reality. Yet, John looks at the One in the midst of the throne and . . . still the Lamb.
In fact, though you might expect that Jesus as the Lamb would be most often mentioned in gospels, it isn’t. John is the only gospel which “beholds the Lamb”–and that only twice (Jn. 1:29, 1:36). But when John beholds the Lamb in Revelation, it occurs some twenty-four times! Jesus is the Lamb forever!
And chew on it a bit, and you perhaps understand why. Without the Lamb and His sacrifice there is no eternity for anybody. Apart from the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8), there is no salvation. Without the shedding of blood there are no names written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 21:27).
And so we behold the Lamb, and will behold the Lamb forever.
Meditating on this, the thought of forever the Lamb seemed familiar. A vague recollection that this wasn’t the first time I had been struck by this. Sure enough, back in December 2009, I was moved to wonder and worship at finding, again and again, the Lamb in heaven.
I know it makes this a pretty long post, but thought I’d include those 2009 thoughts as a morning meal supplement.
Behold the Lamb . . . forever!!!
By His grace. For His glory.
Forever the Lamb
It occurs to me this morning that when Jesus “made Himself of no reputation” and took “the form of a bondservant” and came “in the likeness of men” . . . when He let Himself be “found in appearance as a man” and “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Php. 2:7-8) . . . that He was entering into an eternal humility. This was not some temporary identification with the lost creation, but was an act that would define Him throughout eternity.
I’m reading Revelation in 5 this morning. The Omnicolor glow of Revelation 4 is still fresh as a scroll appears in the hand of “Him who sat on the throne.” The Almighty lifts up the scroll and an angel’s voice echo’s throughout heaven, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” (5:2). And no one, at first, steps forward . . . no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll . . . or even look at it (5:3). But then, behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David . . . He has prevailed . . . He is worthy to take the scroll and unveil its justice (5:5).
And that’s what you kind of expect of Messiah, isn’t it. A Lion . . . mighty . . . powerful . . . awesome to behold. A King . . . after the line of David . . . majestic . . . Possessor of all authority . . . indisputable right to reign. That’s my Lord! But when John looks upon Him, what does he see? “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain . . . ” (5:6).
There in the middle of the glory of heaven . . .with the throne upon which Almighty God is seated, surrounded by winged beasts declaring His holiness, on one side, and the face-planting, worshiping elders on the other . . . in the middle of it all stands the Lion of Judah . . . the Root of David . . . the image of the invisible God . . . the One by whom all things were created . . . the One in whom all things consist . . . the One who is the head of the church . . . the One whom the Father has determined would have the preeminence in all things (Col. 1:15-18) . . . and how is He seen? . . . as a Lamb as though it had been slain.
What does that look like? Physically I know that His face was beaten beyond recognition . . . that His back was laid open with a scourge . . . that His hands and feet were violated with spikes driven through them . . . that His side was pierced with a spear. Yes, He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53:5), but you’d think that after being resurrected . . . that after ascending to heaven . . . that after having taken His place at the right hand of the Majesty on High . . . that this would somehow be behind Him and He would “go back” to being King of kings and Lord of lords. But, just as He never stopped being the Lion of Judah or the Root of David when inhabited flesh for 33 years, so too, He has taken on Himself an eternal humility as the Lamb that was slain. The King of kings will always be the Lamb that was slain.
And when we behold Him . . . for sure, we will see His majesty . . . we will recognize His power . . . but, we will also behold Him as the Lamb. Visibly, throughout eternity, He will be recognized as the One that was slain. Forever, when we look upon Him, there will be a facet of His being that reminds us of the love of God. Heaven, in all it’s omnicolor glory will not shield the reality of the price paid that we might be purchased for Him . . . nor will we want it to. For it will be blessing beyond imagination to hear “the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands and thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ ” (5:12)
Oh, the eternal humility of Christ . . . forever the Lamb that was slain . . . forever the object of our worship . . . “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (5:13) . . . amen!